BOY MEETS STONE
Again only Frank could join Joey and his dad for their second consecutive weekend in Big Sur. Joey didn’t worry that this would become a pattern because he knew that summer would arrive soon and his other friends would have more time to accompany him south; and maybe to other places also such as Yellowstone. Joey’s dad had said he would make plans to visit the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming during the summer.
Grandpa Karl had told them that if they visited him again within a couple of weeks they could help him plant his substantial vegetable garden, hoeing and putting in fertilizer and seeds. As with everything else, Karl followed few rules about planting; for instance, he tried to grow vegetables that his soil and climate contraindicated. And as a result, his corn and peppers fared poorly every summer because of insufficient warmth. And he chronically failed to stagger his crops, so he had a hundred cucumbers and other vegetables all coming up at once, much of which he traded or was forced to bestow gratis on his grateful Big Sur neighbors rather than allow it to spoil. One thing Karl did right was planting vegetables in the sun that needed more of it, such as tomatoes, melons, squash, and some herbs.
The Palo Alto threesome arrived at Karl’s before noon they worked for several hours tilling, fertilizing and planting, so Joey and Frank weren’t free to hike until late afternoon; although they enjoyed the planting, they were eager to set off along the trail again. Joey led the way as usual, heading again towards the cliff.
When they were near enough to see it, Joey again saw a gleam near the top, this time showing steady, not blinking, so he turned towards Frank and asked, “What do you think that is?”
“You saw something up there last time. Let’s climb up there.”
But Joey demurred, saying he preferred to keep hiking. Frank saw neither glint nor gleam, though he had stood and gazed at the same spot that Joey was looking at. This baffled Joey, as the gleam was bright. They continued up the trail, gathered some firewood and headed back. As they passed the cliff again,
Joey saw the same gleam coming from the same spot and again asked Frank about it, but again Frank said he saw nothing, so Joey asked, “How can you keep saying you see nothing? There’s something shining up there, like a can somebody threw out or something. But it makes no sense cuz it’s overcast, so there’s no sun shining on it.”
Still, Frank denied seeing anything and again suggested they climb the cliff. Joey refused because Frank was no rock climber and could put them both in danger. Joey was mindful that Frank had carelessly snowboarded into a tree at high speed and his left knee remained gimpy to this day because of it. If he wrecked that knee climbing the cliff, it would be Joey’s fault for not trying to stop him from doing it. Frank was no keeper of the faith when it came to safety. The co-founder of Esalen Institute, down the coast a ways, was killed by a falling rock one day when he was hiking with friends, and the same thing almost happened to Joey once because of Frank’s carelessness. While Joey was swimming in the Ventana River, he saw Frank climb straight up the nearest slope through chaparral until he disappeared into dense woods further up. Joey got curious, so he went to the spot where Frank started his climb. To follow Frank, Joey would have to clamber up a vertical section that was higher than his head, like a tiny cliff, and get his feet onto or beyond a thick tree root traversing the path that Frank had followed to continue upward.
Just as Joey was about to start climbing, a huge rock came barreling down the path. Taken by surprise, Joey froze in place as it came straight at him, and fortunately, it hit the thick tree root and bounced over his head. If the rock had hit Joey it might have killed him. Later, he told Frank what happened and Frank admitted he sent the rock down on purpose, just to watch it bounce and roll. Frank then recited his own concocted law of the wilderness that You never go up behind someone ifhe doesn’t know you’re following him. Joey retorted silently, How about a rule that you never roll a big rock down a slope unless you know it won’t hit somebody in the head! Frank deserved to be severely reprimanded, but in those days Joey was a reticent nine-year-old, so he didn’t verbally express his rejoinder to Frank’s absurd dictum. But he resolved to be more cautious in the future, being now fully cognizant of how perilous nature trips with Frank could be. The matter of the light in the cliff left in abeyance, Joey and Frank returned to the shack, and later Joey’s dad drove them into Pfeiffer for a hike on one of its scenic trails down to the ocean. After that they ate dinner at a restaurant nearby and got back to the shack after 8 PM.
This young adult series of sci-fi fantasy novels begins with The Reality Master and continues through four other exciting and amazing stories about time travel and mysterious alien devices. Joey and the reader will face dangerous shadowy criminal organizations, agents of the NSA, bizarre travelers from other times and even renegade California bikers and scar-faced walking dead.
- Vol 2 Threat To The World
- Vol 3 Travel Beyond
- Vol 4 Missions Through Time
- Vol 5 The Return Home